- Thursday, 09 June 2011 11:01
Article Read: 1373
Ironing equipment as a vital aspect of a guest’s room, is vastly overlooked by most accommodation providers.
Yet Tripadvisor, arguably the industry’s favourite site, reveals that 1903 forum discussions involve the key word 'iron'… So clearly, the role of ironing equipment is not overlooked by guests. This indicates a good, effective way of turning new guests into established guests, would be establishing good quality, effective ironing equipment.
Paul Yardley, of Yardley Hospitality, puts it well. He states, “the quality of the appliance gives a perception of the final care and consideration given to the guests of that hotel”. All guests have a need for irons, so investing in good quality ironing equipment is an excellent way of promoting this sense of final care and consideration to all guests.
Furthermore, business guests have a more particular need for irons and as a benefit to the hotel, if impressed by the ‘consideration’ of the hotel for their needs, they are more likely to become frequent, well-established guests. As Mr Yardley goes on to say, “the business customer needs to be catered to with quality garments needing quality care after the rigours of the suitcase packing process. For, all guests have a suitcase that is the curse of the ironed garment therefore the most important appliance in the room should be the iron that will give the business guest back the professional look they are there for.”
The importance of quality then, in terms of ironing equipment, is paramount for the success of a hotel. Libby Sharp, executive housekeeper of 30 years, insisted “the biggest complaint from most hotel guests is ‘the iron left a rust stain on my clothes’,” she continues, “then it is a cost for the hotel to send it to the cleaners and have it cleaned”.
“My professional experience with [ironing equipment] has always been a thorn in my side, I have always worked for five star properties and everything in the room is luxury till you open the cupboard and there is a cheap iron and Teflon ironing board cover with the strings hanging down and burnt foam underneath.”
Leeanne Schultz, industry supplier of Sewroo, expert ironing board covers, reiterates, “a tatty ironing board cover and substandard ironing equipment can bring down a guests whole experience, especially business travellers”.
“I would suggest that most hotels use cheap and ineffective ironing board covers,” Ms Schultz elaborates, “we often hear feedback about hotels who do not supply good ironing board covers. This is a detail that is often overlooked. You can imagine a stylish and perfectly kept room and then you open the cupboard to be greeted by a tatty and torn ironing board cover that just hangs off the board.”
The problem is poor quality appliances and as Robert Weatherdon, from the Weatherdon Corporation, suggests, it is easily fixed by the hotels themselves. “They need to purchase good quality irons that are maintained well. If an iron burns a guest’s clothes before a meeting or function due to poor maintenance I am sure the guest will look elsewhere in the future.”
Janine Hancox, of Lycette & Associates, further asserts, “having quality equipment is important and like all electrical equipment it should be checked and tagged as part of annual electrical equipment checks”.
So, what falls under the category of ‘good quality’ ironing equipment? What should hotels be looking out for? According to Mr Yardley, “many housekeepers prefer certain types of iron sole plates for care and maintenance. We always suggest that the property considers buying an auto-off iron as a safety feature because the iron switches off after a certain amount of inactive time. That way if a guest forgets to turn it off it does so itself. Wattage is also very important, with many properties having to be mindful of their energy consumption.
Some hotels have selected a dry-iron instead of a steam iron, because of the poor water quality in the area.”
Selecting brands with a ‘change-over warranty policy’ to eliminate the need for servicing arrangements would also be a smart move for hotels and resorts wanting to save time and energy. This means avoiding cheap brands with “time consuming replacement policies and less options for service agents”, advises Mr Yardley. Because, if you are tempted by cheaper products, it would do to remember that “quality has a big part to play in the longevity of a product – more expensive irons last longer as they are made from better quality plastics and fittings”.
“Superior models also feature better electronics that are less prone to failure”, a huge benefit when “using products with low failure rates means staff are not dedicating unnecessary time sending back and organising the replacement of faulty products”.
Sewroo spokesperson, Leeanne Schultz, insists “hotels/resorts should look for long lasting ironing board covers so that housekeepers don’t have to worry about them very often. A reversible feature is perfect, when one side of a cover is worn; housekeeping can simply turn the cover over before needing to replace it. An all in one cover that provides padding is also essential, hotels don’t need to be worrying about purchasing ironing board covers and under-foams or felts. Accommodation providers should be wary of cheap imitation products.
Long lasting quality products are what guests demand and save the accommodation provider both time and money in the end.”
It seems Ms Schultz knows what she is talking about when it comes to ironing board covers… for Sofitel luxury hotels, agrees with her: “We now have luxury, reversible, thick 100% heavy duty cotton, Dacron padded [ironing board covers] with a snug fit”.
Ms Schultz went on to make another excellent point in terms of the benefit of quality appliances, ‘good ironing board covers should offer the option of hotel logo embroidered on the corner, this really helps with branding and they can also be sold through gift shops as souvenirs.” This idea ties back to the notion that ironing equipment is a vital aspect of a hotel room… When considering which ironing appliances to select for your hotel, Yardley advocates, “the better the products, the better the image for the hotel”. So the best advice for accommodation providers really is to make yours the image of success.